The father of a two-year-old child who suffers from a rare heart condition has expressed his wrath on the thieves for their callous attitude. Stephen Leckey has also appealed to the people who had committed the mindless crime to return the monitor that is an vital part of his young son's recovery from a recent heart operation.
It was explained by the family that Stephen Og Leckey was born with a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means his heart has missing chambers. They further mentioned that that little Stephen had already undergone 2 open heart surgeries even before he reached 1 year of age, with the first one having been conducted when he was just 5 weeks old.
The sources also explained that baby had recently returned to the hospital just two weeks ago to have a pacemaker fitted and, on release, he was given a heart monitor so the hospital could keep a vital eye on his progress.
Stephen had stated that after he had discovered that the machine was missing, was fearful of what might now happen. He said, "Stephen Og is carrying some fluid round his heart after the operation and the hospital gave us the monitor so when we go for check-ups they can see how he has been doing. When I found out it had been stolen I was disgusted, to tell you the truth. The wee man has been through so much in his life and now we have this to deal with - it is unbelievable."
He further explained that the thieves had in addition to the machine also taken off with some cash, alcohol, l and the keys to the house. Though they had taken the keys Stephen has expressed that his primary concern is for the heart monitor, and not the fear that they may be back.
He said, "We immediately told the hospital about what happened because we were afraid it could harm Stephen Og's recovery. It is essential they know how he is progressing so they can treat him properly so I am appealing to them to hand the monitor in - it's of no use to anyone."
Paul Butler the councillor of Lisburn Sinn Féin, echoing the appeal for the safe return of the monitor, also said that there have been in the recent past an increase in the number of house break-ins.
He said, "If the people who carried out this burglary have any heart I would appeal to them to hand the heart monitor back. House break-ins have been on the increase lately but this is even more distressing for the family because of what has been taken. If someone wants to return the item they can approach a local priest or even drop it in at our offices in the Dairy Farm complex but it is imperative it is returned."
A spokeswoman for the PSNI had also confirmed robbery in the area in which money and other items were stolen, and said that they were investigating the theft.